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Clipper scales down to align with decreasing demand

In America, troubled wind turbine supplier Clipper Windpower says it is being hit by the financial crisis, with customers deferring turbine deliveries "due to their inability to access tax equity and project debt financing," says the company's Mary McCann-Gates, referring to the drop in investor interest in wind's federal production tax credit. Customers are also affected by the overall economic uncertainty, she says.

Clipper has fired 90 staff, or about 11% of its workforce. "Working closely with our customers, we are proactively managing the impacts of this situation and rescaling the business to align with demand," says CEO Doug Pertz. The company is reducing production by 15-20% compared with last year.

Wind projects fully completed in 2008 with Clipper turbines totalled 595 MW, while the company says it installed 324 of its Liberty 2.5MW model in the field. Clipper closed the 2008 fiscal year with an estimated cash balance of $214 million, including $5 million in restricted cash. But it expects to report a loss for the second half of 2008, citing deferred orders, warranty repairs on delivered turbines and late grid interconnections at customer sites in the second half of the year.

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